A 10-cm-thick layer of green spherules occurs precisely at the biostratigraphic boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene (K-T boundary) at Ocean Drilling Program Site 1049 (lat 30°08′N, long 76°06′W). The spherulitic layer contains abundant rock fragments (chalk, limestone, dolomite, chert, mica books, and schist) as well as shocked quartz, abundant large Cretaceous planktic foraminifera, and rounded clasts of clay as long as 4 mm interpreted as altered tektite glass probably derived from the Chicxulub impact structure. Most of the Cretaceous foraminifera present above the spherule layer are not survivors since small specimens are conspicuously rare compared to large individuals. Instead, the Cretaceous taxa in Paleocene sediments are thought to be reworked. The first Paleocene planktic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossil species are recorded immediately above the spherule bed, the upper part of which contains an iridium anomaly. Hence, deposition of the impact ejecta exactly coincided with the biostratigraphic K-T boundary and demonstrates that the impact event was synchronous with the evolutionary turnover in the oceans. These results are consistent with a reanalysis of the biostratigraphy of the K-T boundary stratotype, which argues that shallow-marine K-T boundary sections are not biostratigraphically more complete than deep-sea K-T boundary sites.
- Geological Society of America